Greg Barker’s biographical drama Sergio is based on the true story of Brazilian United Nations diplomat Sérgio Vieira de Mello. The timeline in Sergio weaves together a dire story of Vieira de Mello fighting for his life in the present while working as a United Nations Special Representative for Iraq in Baghdad, with earlier flashbacks from his life working with the UN in East Timor and falling in love with Carolina Larriera (Ana de Armas). 

Although this film touches on the political environment they are working within, the main focus of Sergio is the love story between Vieira de Mello and Larriera that began years prior, and this chemistry between Moura and de Armas carries the film through some of its weaker points. The success of this relationship is due not only to the two lead performances, but also to Craig Borten’s screenplay that paints a romantic past while still showing some harsh truths. Moura plays Vieira de Mello with a certain charisma that makes you hang onto every word he says, and likewise for de Armas, who continues to prove herself as a very strong on screen presence. 

Sergio unfortunately suffers from major pacing issues which leads the film to feel disoriented at times. The choice to cut back and forth between Vieira de Mello in the present, where the action is slowly starting to pick up, to moments from his past, is purposeful but ultimately takes the momentum away from how tense his current situation is. 

The ending transitions perfectly from Moura’s portrayal into real-life footage of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, Barker’s touching bookend to a film that succeeds in honouring his life and all that he did while working as a diplomat.


Available to watch on: Netflix


CAST: Wagner Moura, Ana de Armas, Brían F. O’Byrne, Garret Dillahunt, Clemens Schick, Will Dalton, Jason Anthony

DIRECTOR: Greg Barker

WRITER: Craig Borten

SYNOPSIS: A biographical film about United Nations diplomat Sérgio Vieira de Mello.